Just a quick update with only one week to go in our $500 Bucket List Giveaway. See below for more giveaway info, Captain's new feature in the Houston Chronicle, and a sneak peak at our offshore Tuna promo video.
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Check out the new Captain Experiences feature in the Houston Chronicle, or scroll down below for the read! Thanks to Matt Wyatt for the writeup, and please feel free to share on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Click the image below for a sneak peak at our action-packed video catching Tuna offshore out of Galveston, TX with Capt. Lee! The 36-hour overnight trips are a blast and Capt. Lee's 12-hour trips are perfect for Red Snapper, Amberjack, Kingfish, and Grouper this summer- book now!
Thanks for reading and we look forward to helping you book the fishing trip of a lifetime every time.
Founder | Captain Experiences
833-CAPTAIN (833-227-8246) | [email protected]
Matt Wyatt - May 5, 2020
The hassle of putting together fishing trips or finding the right guide is fading into the future.
Captain Experiences is the Airbnb for fishing. The website brings booking for one of the world’s oldest pastimes into modernity.
Anglers can search destinations and peruse with filters like group size, price, species and more. Detailed overviews with photos and videos help find the perfect trip.
It is an easy-to-use tool that connects a growing network of guides with prospective customers. Each guide on Captain Experiences is vetted. The site requires insurance documents and licenses before doing business.
Captain Experiences also uses Quick Response (QR) codes to make transactions swift and cashless. The QR code serves as an entry pass. The guide takes a photo of it on the day of the trip and payment is made automatically. The only cash anglers need to bring with them is for the tip.
“You don’t need to go to an ATM in Cabo to withdraw $800 in pesos to go pay your captain on the dock at 5 a.m.,” said Jonathan Newar, founder and CEO of Captain Experiences.
The QR codes also ensure verified reviews. Only those who receive a code can make a review.
“There’s none of the junk that you read on Google or Facebook where a guide’s first mate might be the one leaving him a few fake reviews,” Newar said.
Captain Experiences is the brainchild of the 25-year-old Newar, a Texan who came up with the idea after an attempt to book a fishing trip became an irritating ordeal.
In October 2018, Newar was working in the oil and gas sector in his hometown of Houston when he volunteered to organize a celebratory fishing trip.
“I Googled ‘Galveston fishing charters’ and realized it’s an absolute mess,” Newar said.
He noted that guides who invest the most in search engines are ranked the highest, which might not represent the best fit for a potential customer. Outdated websites and playing “phone tag” with guides added to the frustration caused by what he felt was an antiquated way of doing things in modern times.
“You can book an Airbnb, call an Uber. What’s the deal with fishing?” he wondered.
Necessity is the mother of invention, the adage goes, and Newar set out to turn his own negative experience into Captain Experiences.
He incorporated the Austin-based company in February 2019 and launched the website in June. Newar credits his family and mentors for making it all possible. He said his girlfriend, Ansley, has been instrumental in the branding and development of the company.
“It’s been a crazy transition, to go from oil and gas finance to a fishing start-up. But it’s just been so rewarding,” he said.
“I absolutely love it.”
Captain Experiences now has over 200 guides. Most of them are found in the southern U.S. and nearly half are in Texas. Twenty-five are based in Galveston, where charter boats just re-opened after a nearly six-week closure amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Saltwater trips make up most of the demand on Captain Experiences. But anglers can still find an assortment of freshwater destinations, like chasing largemouth bass in the Texas Hill Country, catching alligator gar on the Trinity River or fly fishing the Devils River.
Once-in-a-lifetime trips across the world can be found on Captain Experiences. The site offers quests to catch Siberian taimen on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, tigerfish on the Lower Zambezi in Africa or blue marlin in tropical destinations like Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.
Also, fly fishing for golden dorado in Bolivia, which is the No. 1 bucket list item on the company’s top 12 promotion. Entrants can win $500 off one of the 12 trips. Participants can enter until May 13 and the winner will be announced the following day.
If the trip you’re looking for isn’t currently on the website, Captain Experiences will find it for you. The company will act as a concierge, seeking and vetting guides to make the trip happen.
A lot of the guides on the site come from personal referrals.
“That’s the best way for us to grow. Because we’re basically just trying to enhance ‘word of mouth,” Newar said.
Once the pin goes in the map, it stays there. The network expands with each new guide added.
For the guides, the benefits of the website equal those of the angler.
Newar said his company takes a commission on executed trips, so it’s free for guides to list with Captain Experiences. Guides set their own policies for deposits and cancellations.
He said guides seem to appreciate the streamline process and the control they have over their businesses.
“We haven’t had a single guide say, ‘take me off the website,’” Newar said.
Big goals have been set for Captain Experiences going forward. Connecting with more guides, particularly in Florida, is a top priority. Newar is also planning to create a mobile app and would like to add game features, such as leaderboards, badges and giveaways.
All characteristics of Captain Experiences, current or planned, have a shared purpose: Modernizing the process for booking fishing trips.
“I really think that we’re at the intersection of supporting the environment, supporting local businesses, supporting people being active and getting outdoors,” Newar said.
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